CHATHAM CO., Ga. (WTOC) - It’s been nearly two years since Savannah and Chatham County leaders demerged the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department.
After the split, the county formed the Chatham County Police Department under the direction of Chief Jeffrey Hadley.
Recently, the police department released a strategic plan for the next several years. The document is meant to serve as a road map for the Chatham County Police Department for at least the next three years.
Last year, Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley and others spent a lot of time creating this strategic plan. They hope it will help them better serve the community and make the department a place where officers want to come and work.
WTOC reported on this strategic plan last year as the police department was constructing it. Public forums were held where Chief Hadley asked stakeholders, business owners, and residents in the community to attend and share their input.
The police department started the strategic plan process last March. It was completed in October. The plan lays out five goals for CCPD which include organizational structure and personnel, community trust and engagement, technology and infrastructure, focused crime prevention, and response and traffic safety.
WTOC sat down with Chief Hadley and asked which goal was most important to him.
"The community trust and engagement is close to my heart. I think it's foundational and it all starts with that. So, how we go about accomplishing that on a call by call basis, I think it gets down to that level," Chief Hadley said.
According to the strategic plan, in order to increase crime prevention activities, the police department will look at ways to reduce crime and disorder. They also want to look at the mental needs of community members and find ways to educate the public in crime prevention tactics.
Chief Hadley says he’s also looking to increase traffic patrols in the unincorporated areas of Chatham County. He says the biggest complaint from people in the community was about our roadways. Many people are upset about drivers speeding through neighborhoods and other dangerous driving habits.
A lot of road work is happening in the eastern part of the county, specifically the Islands Expressway/Sam Varnedoe Bridge. Last year, CCPD received numerous complaints about people speeding through this work zone, which is dangerous for crews and the general public.
CCPD said they added radars so people could see how fast they were going and they tried to add more enforcement. But Chief Hadley says at this time, the newly formed department does not have a designated traffic unit, but that could soon change. He says a request will be sent to commissioners via the county manager’s office for additional personnel in next year’s budget.
The hiring of more officers would help the department create a problem-oriented traffic safety team to help enforce traffic laws.
CCPD serves around 90,000 people in the unincorporated areas of Chatham County.